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January 13, 2007



The first third or so of the race distinctions book is interesting reading. Apparently the legal concept of a suspect classification hadn't been invented yet. This paragraph amused me:

In 1900, a Reverend Mr. Upton delivered a temperance address near New Orleans. The reporters, desiring to be complimentary, referred to him as a "cultured gentleman." In the transmission of the dispatch by wire to the New Orleans paper, the phrase was, by mistake, changed to "colored gentleman." The Times-Democrat of that city, unwilling to refer to a member of the Negro race as a "colored gentleman," changed it to "Negro," and that was the word finally printed in the report. As soon as he learned of the mistake, the editor of the paper duly retracted and apologized. But Mr. Upton, not appeased, brought a suit for libel and recovered fifty dollars damages.

(Reminds me of the "back in the African-American" incident.)

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